Genetic neuromuscular disorders: what is the best that we can do?

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The major advances in genetic neuromuscular disorders in the last 30 years have been: (a) identification of the genetic basis for hundreds of these disorders, (b) through knowing the genes, understanding their pathobiology and (c) subsequent implementation of evidence-based treatments for some of the disorders. New genomic technologies are providing precision diagnosis, mode of inheritance and likely prognosis for more patients than ever before. Parents of children with a genetic diagnosis can then use preimplantation or prenatal diagnosis to avoid having further affected children if they wish. But is this the best we can do for genetic neuromuscular disorders? Since the 1980s, it has been argued it would be better to identify Duchenne muscular dystrophy carrier mothers, rather than diagnose their affected sons. Carrier screening for recessive disorders can identify couples with a high chance of having affected children. It allows couples reproductive choice and can prevent infant morbidity and mortality and significant distress for families. Professional bodies in many countries now recommend prospective parents should be informed about carrier screening. Implementing and funding expensive therapies increases the cost-effectiveness of carrier screening, increasing its attractiveness to governments. Best practice for genetic neuromuscular disorders should include equitable access to carrier screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1081-1089
Number of pages9
JournalNeuromuscular Disorders
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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